House debates

Tuesday, 14 November 2023

Questions without Notice

Forensic Science

2:58 pm

Photo of Mark DreyfusMark Dreyfus (Isaacs, Australian Labor Party, Cabinet Secretary) Share this | Hansard source

I thank the member for Clark for his question. It does concern an important matter.

I'm sure the member is aware that on 6 June 2022, the Premier of Queensland announced a commission of inquiry into forensic DNA testing in Queensland. That review was conducted by the former president of the Queensland Court of Appeal, Walter Sofronoff KC. Mr Sofronoff delivered his final report on 13 December 2022. His report made 123 recommendations for systemic reform of forensic testing of DNA in Queensland. All of those recommendations have been accepted by the Queensland government. The Commonwealth has noted the commission's recommendations on forensic DNA testing in Queensland, including the commission's view that assessment against the existing international standard for testing and calibration laboratories is not a sufficient benchmark to use as an external review mechanism for forensic laboratories.

Going directly to the focus of the member's question, I can say that forensic agencies across Australia are engaging with the important issues that were raised by that Queensland commission. The Australia New Zealand Forensic Executive Committee, which is a forensic science leadership group comprising heads of government and police forensic providers, is seeking national consistency in responding to the commission's report. This work is intended to address all of that Queensland commission's recommendations at a national level and facilitate national consistency in forensic services. I again thank the member for his question and his continued interest in these important matters.


No comments